Andrea Lyons is part of an ever growing number of students who haven’t quite had a normal OU experience. Lyons transferred to the University of Oklahoma at the beginning of the pandemic, when everything was online only. After getting her Associate’s, she picked OU for its meteorology program, though she discovered after a couple math classes that she’s more of what she calls a “weather enthusiast.”
“I really like meteorology and I think studying weather is so cool,” Lyons said. But she also admitted that she did not enjoy the amount of math required in the field.
Lyons did some digging through the many degrees offered at OU and found that not only did a major in environmental sustainability interest her, it fit well with the classes she had already been taking. On top of the major, she’s taking courses in climate adaptation.
“So far, it's been great. I think this is the right choice; I love it,” Lyons says of her new major. “Out of all of the classes that I've taken at the college level, this is the most I've ever felt like I'm doing something that I really like and enjoy.”
Because she hasn’t been on-campus for all of her time at OU, Lyons hasn’t yet joined any organizations, and since returning to in-person, her schedule has been busy. “Now that I’m actually here on campus, I’ve found that I’m too busy with studying,” she said. She hopes to change that before she graduates.
In the short amount of time Lyons has been at OU, she’s found a great deal of help in Academic Advisor Brittney Johnson. “Although many of our conversations have been brief, our most recent sit-down conversation, even though I don’t think she was aware of it, really made me feel so much better and in a way reaffirmed that what I want to do with my degree is needed.”
Lyons sees the future of environmental sustainability, geography, GIS, and meteorology professions expanding in the future. “I think the demand for more people in these fields will increase, considering our current climate situation.”
Lyons doesn’t have a favorite college memory yet, but when it comes to advice, she’s ready to share. “Time is precious and even though we all have to start somewhere and ‘work our way up,’ that process should not wear us down physically and mentally,” Lyons said. “If you are in a position where you don’t need to get a job immediately, take a break! We have been through a lot within the last two years.”
She also advises students to be flexible: “Follow what best fits [you] and don’t feel pressured to stay with something.”
After graduation, Lyons plans to move back to the Dallas, Texas area, with hopes to reconnect with her community and put her knowledge of environmental sustainability, planning, and management to good use.
“I’d like to take all the things that I’m learning here and try to give back to my community because they’ve helped me the most” said Lyons. “So environmental justice and injustice, trying to make sure that the lower-income community and people who don’t have access to higher education or who don’t give the extra thought to what I’ll leave behind for my grandchildren, I want to help them and let them know that people still think about you. You don’t have to have money to replace your regular electric with solar panels and electric cars, you can still do something to sustain what we have left.